To spank or not to spank: Zinhle Mapumulo

2013-08-04 14:00

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini insists that parents have to take responsibility and raise their children with proper values. Her department and the University of the Western Cape-based Children’s Rights Project are working on drafting a bill which, if passed, would outlaw corporal punishment at home. Five City Press staffers share their views on the proposed legislation.

When I saw a headline screaming “Parents to be banned from spanking”, I thought it must be the late night I’d had that was deceiving me.

I read the article twice, thinking I was missing something.

She must be joking, I thought. How are we supposed to discipline kids who never listen when we can’t even spank them?

But then I remembered I hated being spanked as a child and never understood what gave people the right to spank others.

I was fortunate enough to grow up at a time when my mother had lost her iron duchess touch.

I’m told she was a “no-nonsense disciplinarian” who gave it good when you did something wrong.

I guess she must have used up all her spanking energy by the time she had her sixth child, which was yours truly, because I never saw that side of her.

I’m grateful for that, because I don’t think spanking me would have helped me turn into a better person than I am right now.

I know people whose parents used a strong hand to discipline them back in the day and, believe me, they are more messed up today than a Young Designers Emporium store during a R99 sale.

They became so familiar with being spanked, they no longer perceived it as discipline, just another power game parents play.

More often than not, they ended up rebelling because there was nothing more their folks could do.

And I wouldn’t want my daughter to grow up like that.

So maybe it is time to start considering other forms of “non-abusive” discipline, like taking away your child’s privileges.

You know your child and know what they love.

Remove those perks and you will be amazed at how quickly they get back to toeing the line.

I have tried it and it works.

I know you are probably rolling your eyes and saying this is bull, but sit down and drink a steaming cider in the corner.

I challenge you to try it.

Remember, the trick is that they have to do a little more than what they were being punished for, to make up for it, before regaining their privileges.

This will teach them responsibility.

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